Pennsylvania Adopts Maximum Contaminant Level for PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water and EPA is Not Far Behind
On January 14, 2023, Pennsylvania adopted a final rule establishing a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in drinking water. The final rule establishes an MCL of 14 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 18 ppt for PFOS. Pennsylvania joins a growing list of states to adopt MCLs. By comparison, New Jersey has adopted slightly lower MCLs for PFOA (13 ppt) and PFOS (14 ppt). Pennsylvania’s MCLs for PFOA and PFOS apply to all community, nontransient, noncommunity, and bottled, vended retail, and bulk water systems.
At the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also planning to establish MCLs for both PFOA and PFOS. EPA had hoped to propose MCLs for PFOA and PFOS by the end of 2022 with a final rule adopted by the end of 2023. In its recent Regulatory Agenda, EPA moved its target to publish a proposed MCL to March 4, 2023 and a final MCL to September 2024. To the extent that EPA’s MCL is more stringent than Pennsylvania’s MCL, Pennsylvania will likely have to adopt EPA’s standard. To the extent there are other conflicts between the two MCL rulemakings, it is unclear how such conflicts will be resolved.